What is Dry January?

Dry January is your chance to ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline, and save some serious £££ by giving up alcohol for 31 days.

As part of it, you can fundraise for the charity Alcohol Concern, and by doing so you can help to make a real difference to the lives of those harmed by alcohol, their families, and help ensure that young people (and the rest of us) have a healthy relationship with alcohol. Did you know, for instance, that 93,500 babies under 1 live with a parent who is a problem drinker? And that almost half of young people excluded from school are themselves regular drinkers? But the good news is that for every £1 spent on alcohol treatment, £5 is saved on healthcare, policing and other costs to society from alcohol.

When does Dry January start?

This isn’t as silly a question as it sounds. Officially it starts on Friday 1st January 2016, which is when most people ditch the booze. But if you decide to wait until after the weekend or when you’re back to work on Monday 4th, that works great too (but you’ll still need to do the full month!). What we do say is sign up as soon as possible, even if you’re delaying the start, that way you won’t miss out on the support and it will be all ready for when you need it!

Oh, and it starts when you wake up on the 1st – you don’t have to worry about stopping as the stroke of midnight if you’re at a New Year’s party!

Why take part?

There are so many benefits:

- Better sleep
- More energy
- Clearer skin
- Weight loss
- Time – no more hangovers to sleep off!
- The sense of achievement for finishing your month
- A healthier relationship with alcohol – the stats show most participants drink less even six months after Dry January has finished.
- The realisation that you’re actually just as awesome without the alcohol.
- And think of all the money you’ll save!

How will I last a month?

A month without booze might seem a big challenge initially. Some people might not have gone a whole month without drinking since…well, a long time! But once you’re over the initial challenge that comes with breaking any habit, it does start to get easier. And when people start noticing that you’re looking healthier than ever, they’ll be eager to find out what your secret is!

We’re not saying it’s easy (few things worth doing are) but come the end of the campaign last year, nearly 10% of participants said they didn’t plan on drinking again and more than six in ten were choosing to drink much less half a year later. If that’s not a great sign it gets easier, I don’t know what is.

Why should I sign up?

Some people try to give up alcohol on their own for a month, which is a great first step. In fact it’s estimated that 2 million people try and cut out the booze in January. Best of all those who sign up directly with us and get the tips and advice delivered straight to their inboxes are more likely to stick with it until the end, and get all the benefits!

We provide tips, guidance and information about what you might be feeling, how to be more confident when not drinking and generally try to make it easier on you. After all if you’re promising to hit the gym, eat more veg, drop the takeaways, cook more AND give up alcohol in January (and let’s face it, most of us are) then any help you can get is a bonus!

Plus it’s free. And we’re really nice.

What does it mean to go alcohol-free?

Dry January means that you won’t drink any alcohol for the whole month of January.

When you’re replacing the alcohol with something else, it’s perfectly OK to drink alcohol-free beer or alcohol-free wine. Many people find they have the same “feel” of drinking, but without the booze (and they’re much much better than they used to be). Be careful though, it has to be alcohol-free, not “low-alcohol” which is still made with alcohol and therefore a no-go for the month.

We’re often asked if you can eat things like chocolate liqueurs. The answer is a technical yes, but with the proviso that you really consider why you’re doing it first. If you have some left over from Christmas that need eating then it’s probably OK, but if you’re out hunting for them in the January sales specifically because you want something that tastes boozy, then it’s not really in the spirit of things and should be avoided.

Similarly cooking with wine is allowed if you’ve got a recipe you’re always using that calls for it (most of the alcohol is burnt off in the cooking process), but if you’ve never cooked with wine before and are adding it to beat the system, well, maybe leave the bottle in the cupboard until February. Plus that way you won’t be tempted to finish it off the bottle once it’s open…

How can I fundraise?

We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to fundraise as part of your Dry January, whether by creating a fundraising page and getting sponsored, to a bunch of other ideas you might want to consider. Plus those who make a public declaration by fundraising are more likely to last the entire month. Considering the money you’ll be saving, have you considered…

- Creating your own Dry January fundraising page on JustGiving.
- Text “donate” to DRYJ31 to 70070 with the amount you want to donate. So just text DRYJ31 £10 to 70070 if you want to donate £10.
- You can download a copy of the Dry January 2015 Sponsorship Form.
- Or you can post a cheque to Alcohol Concern, 25 Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR.

Who can I fundraise for?

Dry January is a campaign owned and run by the charity Alcohol Concern (Registered Charity number 291705). We’re the national charity working to reduce alcohol harm in the UK., and money raised will go towards supporting all our work, including health and fitness campaigns throughout the year, independent research into alcohol issues and helping young people finally get a say on alcohol issues.

As it’s a registered trademark, you cannot use Dry January to fundraise for another charity. But, that said, if you’re from another charity and interested in getting involved with the campaign, drop us an email to dryjanuary@alcoholconcern.org.uk to see what we can do together!

Note: It’s really important to state that Dry January is NOT a medical detox programme and should not be undertaken by people with alcohol dependency issues. This is both an awareness raising campaign and a fundraiser for Alcohol Concern to help people have a healthier relationship with alcohol. If you think you might be alcohol dependent, have a chat with your GP first.